Embrace healthy food choices, behavioural patterns for healthy kidneys — Experts

healthy food choices

DR Jonathan Dangana, a public health expert, has urged Nigerians to make healthy food choices and adopt the right behavioural patterns to maintain healthy kidneys.

Dangana gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.

According to Dangana, a lecturer in the Department of Public Health, Babcock University, the kidney is
an essential organ in the human body with a strategic function that aids life processes.

He also said that the kidneys, located below the rib cage with one on each side of the spine, remove
waste products from the body as the body carries out processes of breaking down substances.

He added that “the kidneys also remove drugs from the body.

“When drugs are ingested or taken, they go through a process of metabolism which you can refer to as
breaking down, and what is no longer required has to be removed from the body, hence the kidney
serves as means of this removal through the urethra as urine.

“The kidneys balance the body’s fluids and release hormones that regulate blood pressure.

“The body in its natural function, secretes a number of hormones aimed at aiding body functions, one of such is renin,
which is expected to keep body pressure normal.”

He, however, said that it was important that for humans to function well and stay healthy, proper care of the kidney must be prioritised.

This, he said, is by making healthy food choices which can only be ensured by eating balanced diet.

“Take part in physical activity. Engage your body in intentional physical activities; apportion time and possibly
venue where you can engage in a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes daily, five times a week.

“Keep fit. In this part of the world we often say that a “pot belly” is a sign of good living or arrival of making money.
Maintain a healthy weight commensurate with your health expectation,” he advised.

Dangana added that adequate sleep is a natural means of recalibrating the body and allowing it to work without breaking.

He also said that adopting a smoke-free and alcohol-free life is important for healthy kidneys.

According to him, one of the cheapest means of making sure the services rendered by the kidneys are hampered or slowed down
or disrupted is through smoking, as it slows the amount of blood required for the kidney to function and increases the chances of kidney disease.

He said there are well over 15 different types of diseases that affect the kidney and each has its unique means of how they come about.

He, however, said that the diseases could be categorised into short term (acute and chronic) and long term.

He identified back pain, side pain, nausea, frequent urination, foamy urine, blood in urine, constipation and dizziness as warning
signs to watch out for before the onset of kidney disease.

Also, a Nutritionist, Miss Uju Onuorah, advised drinking plenty of water and other fluids as water helps to clear toxins from the kidneys.

She encouraged eating of fresh foods and whole foods and reduction in Ultra-Processed Foods (UPFS) as they are high in sodium.

“Be cautious of slimming and detox teas as some studies have linked kidney disease to slimming tea/detox tea consumption.

“Limit intake of alcohol. Alcohol can cause changes in the function of the kidneys and make them less able to filter the blood. It can
also lead to blood pressure which can affect the kidney.

“Beware of the amount of pills (medicines) you take, always consult a health professional before taking medication.

“Manage diabetes and high blood pressure properly. This is because people with diabetes and/or high blood pressure
may develop kidney damage if not properly managed,” she said.

Onuorah also called for regular checkup as only a medical doctor could ascertain how often the kidneys should be checked. (NAN)